Bad Girls

Written by Douglas Petrie
Directed by Michael Lange

Perri's Review | SunSpeak

Perri's Review

Pretty much a set-up episode for things to come, but a great introduction to the new Watcher.

The Slayers have their back to the wall, fighting vampires who are, oddly enough, using weapons, but Faith seems to be more interested in quizzing Bufy on whether she's ever slept with Xander, a topic currently of some interest to Faith. The discussion ends as the two Slayers hunt down the last vampire of the lot -- and Faith almost gets herself and Buffy killed by ignoring what little plan they had, which doesn't even begin to phase the younger Slayer. Trick isn't happy either -- he takes the swords the vamps were using to the Mayor, who tells Trick to keep an eye out on the new vamps, to keep them from interfering with the upcoming 'dedication' -- the final step before his 'ascension' -- and to aim the Slayers at them, in the hopes they'll kill each other.

At school the next morning, the Slayerettes are comparing college acceptances -- Willow, to no one's surprise, has been accepted to every school in the known universe. Xander and Buffy are less stoked about their possible futures, and Willow offers to help Buffy study for a major chemistry test the next day. Buffy accepts happily, then heads to the library and Giles -- who is having a bad day. His replacement Watcher, Wesley Wyndham-Price, has shown up, and is, well, a twit. Young, stuffy, inexperienced, superior, condescending, control freak... his only saving graces seem to be that he's well up on his vampire lore and he's not, apparently, evil. He tells Buffy that her vamps of the night before are part of a cult (El Eliminati) led by a demon called Balthazar he insists is dead -- the vamps are into dueling and finding Balthazar's amulet. Wesley's also not thrilled with the fact that Buffy refuses to take him seriously and continues to treat Giles as her Watcher. Faith is more straighforward -- presented with a new Watcher, her response is simply, "Screw that."

Buffy chases after Faith, who is determined to have nothing to do with the new guy. They're the Slayers, she says, and they can do what they want, and enjoy it. Buffy is skeptical, but Faith refuses to believe she doesn't get off on Slaying the way Faith does. Faith disappears, leaving Buffy to retrieve the amulet that night, from the crypt where Weley says it was hidden. She finds it easily -- then has to take refuse in one of the graves to hide from El Eliminati, who retreive the amulet before Buffy can stop them. Fortunately, Faith turns up in time to help; unfortunately, Faith's idea of a plan is to jump directly down into the vamps' nest, and 6 to 2 odds.

Wesley requires that Giles turn his Watcher diaries over and Giles complies, being slightly more occupied worrying about Buffy. As he should be -- the vamps are tougher opponents than either girl expected. After a serious fight involving swords and stakes, one pins Faith to the wall as the other grapples with Buffy, forcing her head under water. Buffy finally goes limp and the vamp releases her...

And Buffy bounces back to her feet, facing down the vamp; she retrieves the amulet as the vamps escape. Wesley confirms the authenticity of the amulet while Giles and Buffy worry more about why a dead cult has so many active members. Buffy manages to annoy Wesley yet again by wanting to talk to Giles, who is less than worried about what Wesley does or doesn't like. In the chem test which she wasn't able to study for, Buffy expounds on her fight of the night before, and how much she'd found herself enjoying it. Willow and Xander are actually trying to pass (with Xander trying to hide his reaction every time Faith is mentioned) but when Faith shows up and invites Buffy to go slay, Buffy ditches the test to take her up on the invite.

The pair head for the nest Faith discovered, hoping to catch the vamps in daylight. They succeed, launching a highly-sucessful ambush. In the wake, they celebrate at a dance club, Faith more than enjoying the male attention both girls are receiving. But Buffy immediately ditches them when Angel shows up, literally jumping into his arms in adrenaline and surging hormones. Confused and clinging to self-control by his fingertips, Angel quizzes her on El Eliminati and tells her that word on the street is that Balthazar is alive, in a local warehouse and looking for his amulet. Wesley shows up and, aside from being deprived of his possession of the amulet -- which he's oh-so-intelligently carrying around in his pocket -- in favor of Angel, is roundly ignored by both parties and highly confused. Which doesn't look like it's going to be an uncommon circumstance.

To no one's shock, Angel is correct and Wesley quite wrong; Balthazar -- resembling a skinless Jabba the Hutt -- is very alive and pitching a demonic temper tantrum wanting his amulet. Following Angel's tip, Faith and Buffy locate him and his cult but aren't prepared for a major fight. Faith solves the problem by breaking into a nearby weapons store. "Life as a Slayer is very simple," she informs buffy. "Want, take, have." At the moment, the philosophy sounds pretty good to Buffy, who gets into the spirit of grand theft. But the party is spoiled by the arrival of the Sunnydale Police, who take the girls into custody.

They escape by forcing the car to crash and, leaving the cops in the wreckage, head for safety. A sunny morning brings no repercussions, and an attack on the mayor in his own by one of El Eliminati. Trick foils it, and the major orders his aide, Flunky Boy, and Trick to lock the vamp up. Balthazar is so not happy, since his ultimate enemy is about to gain equally ultimate power. He tells his vamps to ignore all of the dueling rules and simply kill or kidnap anyone necessary to get the amulet -- including the Watchers and the Slayers.

Willow has put together a protective amulet of her own for Buffy, but Buffy ditches her in favor of Faith for the night's slaying, leaving Willow feeling hurt and useless, and Buffy certain she's doing the right thing to protect Willow -- and herself. Meanwhile, Wesley and Giles are getting back into another round of Old Watcher versus New Watcher, abruptly cut off by the arrival of El Eliminati. Faith and Buffy take on a lot of vamps of their own, winning, until the mayor's aide appears behind them. Before he can say a word, and before Buffy can stop her, Faith stakes the human aide. And kills him.

Panicking, Faith pulls Buffy away and they split up; Faith backtracks to the body she left behind, kneeling helplessly in front of him. Buffy, in another direction, runs into Angel, who sees the blood on her hands, but has a more important message -- that El Eliminati have Giles. Wesley does not deal well with immediate life-threatening crises; fortunately, Giles keeps his head and his mouth when Balthazar demands to know who has the amulet. Wesley is more than willing to sell Angel out, but doesn't have enough information to do it, since he doesn't even know Angel's name. Giles keeps his mouth shut and, before the torture can begin, the object of conversation makes his entrance and the fight begins instead. Angel, Buffy and Giles, armed with a sword, take the vamps down but the demon manages to get a mental, then physical hold on Angel. Seeing Angel threatened, Buffy responds by dropping an electrical line into Balthazar's jacuzzi, resulting in deep-fried demon. He lives only long enough to inform Buffy that she hasn't won. "When he rises, you'll wish I'd killed you all."

He would seem to be the mayor, conducting a ceremony in the middle of a pentagram. Slightly distracted by his missing aide, the mayor tests his spell by releasing his pet Illuminati, who swings up his sword and slashes the mayor's head right down the middle. Then stares in confusion as it comes back together, leaving the mayor unharmed. Trick dusts the vamp, and the mayor announces that "this officially begins the hundreds days. Nothing can harm me until the ascension."

Buffy goes to see Faith the next morning, trying to help her deal with the trauma of having killed a human. Faith, however, steadfastedly denies the existance of any trauma. She disposed of the body, and she has no interest in pursuing the topic. She doesn't care.

Faith has broken one of the major rules of Slaying by killing a human (the mayor's aide). She dumped the body and is aggressively not dealing.

The new Watcher is a twit named Wesley Wyndham-Price, who is being roundly ignored by every Slayer and Slayerette he's met, with good reason.

The mayor is now effectively immortal, or at least invulnerable, and has begun something called 'the hundred days' before 'the ascension' -- presumably a major ritual.

Romatically, nothing, really, except some cute Angel and Buffy moments. On other fronts, Faith and Buffy were tentatively bonding, but Faith committing murder and saying she doesn't care is bound to put a damper on that friendship.

Giles has, without a doubt, been hanging around Buffy and her cohorts for far too long. Freed of the constraints of being Buffy's Watcher, and bound by the rules of the Council, he has also shed any pretense of not being her friend as well as her Watcher. When we first see him, he is sitting on the main library table rather than in a chair, which he has never done before (and has been known to glare at Slayerettes for); he wises off in Wesley's general direction at every available opportunity -- professional courtesy is completely out the window; he's, if not completely openly, then at least tacitly encouraging Buffy to continue treating Wesley like the idiot he is; and when confronted with Balthazar, his response could have come directly from Buffy's mouth -- "If it's for me to scrub those hard-to-reach areas, I'd like to request you kill me now." When compared to the Giles we first met -- who bore an unfortunate resemblance to Wesley -- the change is incredible. And, more importantly, Giles is no longer trying to deny that he has feelings for Buffy beyond those of simply being her Watcher. He is actively defending them, saying they make the two of them a stronger team rather than a weaker one. This is a major step for Giles, who has always at least tried to maintain a professional distance, but now feels no compulsion to continue.

Wesley, for his part, has so much to learn it's not even funny. My assumption is that he's someone's son; otherwise, he's awfully damn young to be assigned to not one but two active Slayers. He's on top of the game where sheer monster trivia is concerned -- he'd clean up on Jeopardy in the 'Things That Go Bump in the Night' category -- but has no real connection with reality until it leaps up and kidnaps him. Actually, her remidns me terrifyingly of Kendra -- both of them bound so tightly by traditional Slayer/Watcher attitudes that they can't break out of that mindset to think for themselves any more; more, Wesley can't handle the concept that Buffy and Faith have already broken out, and can't be shoved back in. Kendra got killed at least partially because she couldn't quite adapt fast enough, even when shown that there were other ways. Wesley's survival is going to depend entirely on his ability to adapt -- to learn from Giles and Buffy that the traditional way is not the right way. We'll see how he reacts to Giles saving his condescending little butt and go from there.

Faith is starting to scare me more and more. It was established from the beginning that her hold on reality is more than a little shaky; her attitudes towards men and her apparent glee in Slaying are both abnormal, especially for someone as young as she is. Now, she has done the unthinkable -- instead of killing monsters, she has killed a human. He reaction to it is to walk away and pretend nothing happened, which is really not good. Either she's seriously repressing guilt and fear (which I'm inclined to believe) and Buffy is right -- it'll come out when she least expects it and she might not be strong enough to deal -- or Faith really doesn't care that she has committed murder. I don't buy this one at all, but if it's true, then we have a Slayer who has crossed the line to sociopath, and that's so not a good.

For that matter, the mayor getting anything resembling immortality is also way not a good. From photo ops with Boy Scouts to becoming invulnerable to having root beer floats -- the mayor may be invulnerable, but he's also quite, quite insane, and if the ascension is what I think it is, Sunnydale is in for a Major Problem. Hello, Season Finale.

You have to feel sorry for Allan Fitch (?). The poor guy is stuck being aide to a completely insane, demon-worshipping mayor, forced to deal with Mr. Trick, and winds up on the wrong end of a stake. Talk about a bad retirement plan.... Oh well. Bye, flunky, we'll miss you.

If anyone ever really deserved a Thelma and Louise spree, it's Buffy. She's literally had the year from hell, sacrificing everything she loves -- her relationships, her lover, her happiness -- to the job of Slaying and getting nothing abck in return but more loss, and the Watcher Council taking away the one constant she's had in her life. Faith's philosophy must have sounded pretty damn attractive -- Buffy got to do the taking for once, take what she wanted and the hell with the consequences. But the consequences arrived before Buffy could enjoy the havings -- with first the cops, then the dead body. Faith's approach to life is not good, to put it mildly, but Buffy could pick up a tip or two on living for herself instead of everyone else, as long as she doesn't take it to extremes that results in handcuffs and police cars.

As far as Angel goes, he and Buffy have fallen into a very intersting casual intimacy. The good-bye kiss they exchange is apparently automatic on both their parts. Buffy's leap into Angel's arms was something hormonal and adrenalized on her part, but she had no doubt she'd be welcomes, and he wasn't entirely comfortable with having her crawlng all over him, but it was more along the lines of "Come one, how much self-control do you think I have!?" than anything. So nice to have these two together without deadly angst levels once in a while.

Best Moments:
Buffy's first meeting with Wesley is fantastic -- her initial reaction of "Is he evil?" is hysterical, and Giles' deadpan through the entire scene has to be seen to be believed. Great performances. "And afterwards, I get a cookie." Both Buffy and Giles have priceless expressions, even as fast as Giles tries to cover his smirk.

Giles catching himself mirroring Wesley with polishing the glasses. Apparently this is a ritual taught in Watcher training. < snerk >

"I hate it when they drown me." And I love it when continuity is this excellent!

Buffy's second scene with Wesley. The connection between her and Giles is so obvious and Wesley is so oblivious to it. You'd feel sorry for him is he wasn't such a twerp! And Giles refusing to feel guilty for taking care of 'his' Slayer is wonderful. Kudos to Tony Head on this entire episode.

Buffy leaping on Angel in the club. All right, I'm a softie and a 'shipper, but ti was so damn cute! And the expression on Angel's face... < giggling > Followed by him trying desperately to get away from the crawling-all-over-him Buffy when part of his really doesn't want to go anywhere. Nice body language from David here.

Wesley's arrival. As soon as Buffy takes back the amulet, he becomes a complete lack of interest to both her and Angel. Good thing he looks kinda cute when he's confused, because it seems to be his best thing.

Trick taking out the vamp sent to kill the mayor. "It's called a Uzi, ya chump. Could have saved your ass right about now." < g > I do like Trick, even is he is the eternal Sidekick Boy.

Faith staking Flunky Boy. A terrible scene that you could see coming, but not in time to prevent, just like Buffy. And Faith and Buffy's reaction of horror and blind panic was perfectly done.

Giles and Wesley in front of Jacuzzi Boy. Wesley is such the wimp, but Giles is utterly cool. Gotta love him.

Angel's entrance! Yahoo! Nice to have you back, Angel, we missed you!! Yay! < happy fangirl dance >

The entire fight scene. Must have been aqful to choreograph, but it came off beautifully -- and Giles with a sword was, um, impressive, even to a non-GASPer like me. Yowsa.

The mayor testing his spell. Wow, when did we hit T2? Yee....

Faith trying to wash out her shirt. Definite Lady MacBeth overtones ("Out out, damned spot") and a really good job of negating all of her protests about not caring in one short shot.

Questions and Comments:
Oz's hair!!!! Please, even the blonde thing was better than this!!! Make it go away!

Wesley can't possibly know who Angel is, can he? Not until he's read much further into Giles' diaries, as I strongly assume Giles didn't breathe a word of his Slayer's relationship with a vampire to the Council until Angelus got loose -- and maybe not even then. < snicker > I hope we don't get cheated out of Wesley's onscreen discovery of this little fact like we did out of Cordelia's.

Oh, I love Christian Clemson! Every time I see that man in anything, I start giggling in anticipation. Never seen him as a demon before, but he does a loverly job with it! Socrates Poole is demonically possessed, film at eleven! Whee! Ahem. Sorry, leftover 'Adventures of Brisco County Jr.' fangirl tendancies. I'll be fine, really.

Okay, what was up with the subtext in the club scene? And can I just say I'm glad it didn't get any textier?

Okay, so who was Allan/mayor's aide/Flunky Boy working for? We get glimpses he's working for Jacuzzi Boy and let the vamp in to kill the mayor; he's certainly on the mayor's payroll, and could have been looking for the Slayers to pass on information about El Eliminati in order for them to kill each other off, per original plan; and he's sure as hell uncomfortable with the mayor and might have been trying to warn the Slayers about him. Which is it?

Rating: 4 stars out of five. Very much a set-up episode, as I said, but the introduction of Wesley is really well done and Giles is absolutely priceless through the entire episode. And it's a good set-up!


"Wesley *must* have p.o'd someone on the Watcher's Council, to be sent into this situation with so little preparation. Seriously. I mean, Giles, during first season, was still a heckuva lot more together than this guy. Even thinking of the very first time he showed, and his total lack of vamp experience, he still deals better. Wesley's not doing so hot by comparison. Especially with the caving and offering up the amulet and Buffy's friend so damn fast. Twerp. He's cute, but right now it's nothing more than skin deep." -- Chris

"Does anyone else think that the demons in the Buffyverse -- and just the way the whole demon thing operates --- are a lot more like the djinn and genii of the 1001 Arabian Nights than they are traditional demons? With the sole exception of the First One, all of these guys are into their own power, ruling hte world or their dimension, pain, suffering, and food. No moral corruption issues, no fight against good through servants --- sheerly in it for the power rush. Even the Whistler fits into that mythos better, since there were good genii (or at least, benevolent ones) in those stories too. Something to think about."
"That's a good analogy--especially in light of, oh, say "The Wish". :-) But they're also very much like Lovecraft's Great Old Ones and the various levels of critters in their employ, which tracks because the Buffyverse cosmology as explained by Giles in WttH is *very* Lovecraftian, with the whole "this is OUR world, we had it first and we'll get it back" platform." -- Chris and Valerie

"Nice hair, Oz."
"Y'know, it reminds of Todd's hair."
"Sure. When he was Pedro in _Streetcar_, and wouldn't poke his head out of the Auditorium building for three months if he could help it." -- Val and Jack (as reported by Val)

"Mr. Trick -- has fallen back into the number 2 position he occupied with hoof-vamp. Too bad, but the makeup continues to be great." "Kinda too bad, but he fits better there. I agreed with everyone who said at the beginning that he didn't quite have the punch to be Number One Baddie. I actually kinda like that he was touted as "The Villain" for this season, and then they semi-sneaked the Mayor into that slot. Trick's forte seems to be much more in the rare category of actually intelligent henchvamp." -- Dawn and Val

"Giles! Sword! Blatherigterhs! Swaritydhdfk!! < siiiiigghhhh > Okay, I'm back. And wasn't Wesley-twerp just the most ineffectual Watcher you could possibly imagine? But was the bit with Wesley reading from Giles' first diary a way to remind us that Giles wasn't all that much better when he first started? I'll bet it was -- although the comparison would have been much more effective if Wesley hadn't become such a freaking COWARD as soon as the chips were down. < grr! > Giles *never* sank that low. (Giles with a sword! Yeee!)" -- Maureen

"She's scared about what she'd done, but unlike Buffy, doesn't have anyone she feels comfortable talking to about it, so just prefers to push it away and not deal with it. This is one of the reasons why Faith really *does* need a Watcher -- not just to keep her in line, and give her some instructions in strategy (*so* very needed!), but also to give her an outlet, someone she trusts to talk to. That's one of the ways that Giles has developed the most over the last couple of years, being available to Buffy when she just needs to talk about something. One wonders if the Watchers get *any* training in psychology, or if the Council in their infinite wisdom doesn't even realize that's essential."
"Oh no! If they did it might encourage bonding and/or support... which, as we all know is a terribly embarassing and handicapping failure in a Watcher! It must be "order and move on... order and move on..." :-ppp" -- Maureen and Dianne

"It's gonna be a killer May, yup. May I run and hide *now*, please? And now Allan isn't around to maybe do something about the Mayor. I agree that Allan was probably trying to contact the Slayers to warn them about the Ascension. Although why he couldn't have done so well _before_ the Mayor became invulnerable...! Yep, gonna be an _interesting_ graduation. Ya think Sunnydale will finally be wiped completely off the earth?" -- Maureen

"assuming (as seems more and more likely) that most Slayer-Watcher set-ups are very Kendra-esque, a few controlled-circumstances encounters might well be considered the height of cutting-edge preparation. I mean, note that Kendra's Watcher never showed, even though she made two separate Awful-Prophecy-of-Doom-and-Armaggedon-Emergency-Response-Team trips to Sunnydale. She came alone both times, her Watcher staying back as reference and command center. In such a case, even if she stayed closer to home, the 'normal' Watcher might well expect never to encounter an actual vampire in person (or is that 'in demon'? ;-) So having a (controlled-circumstances) encounter or two before going out might be considered almost overkill-- a way to relate to (read: "better deploy") the Slayer and/or outside-chance emergency survival tip. Actual staking would be an advanced-level elective for the Watchers, rather than the basic-training course it should be for anyone headed Hellmouthward." -- Dianne

"Another reason for Watchers to remain detached. Watchers are supposed to be interchangeable, too. Kendra's Watcher didn't *need* to come: Giles was there to be Watcher to Kendra." -- Betsy (commenting on Dianne, above)

"Faith is still very new, apparently had already had a rough life, and then had one Watcher die on her and one try to kill her. She's very deeply into the 'can only count on myself/in this alone' mindset. She also has no life outside of slaying-- so why be doing anything else? She's not planning college or having close friends or family or a romantic interest. Slaying literally _is_ her life, to all appearances, so she doesn't exactly have a death wish, but it's not like she's got any particular reason to be cautious in the Slaying. What would she be saving herself for? :-/" -- Dianne

"Massive stupidity *is* contagious; just break into the store 'cause it's there? Want... take... have? Aiiighhh. Buffy is smarter than this, even if Faith isn't. Getting arrested and going to jail isn't a problem if you don't do stupid crap like this to begin with, guys. Fairly unbelievable. Although I can understand Buffy's wish to go-with-the-moment, and not wanting to have to be the responsible one, this is just... dumb. Mercs have plans when they do this stuff. Escape plans. Not-getting-caught plans. Dumb, dumb, dumb Slayers." -- Chris

"I'm hurting for Willow. Someone's already written a little vignette-thinking piece for her on WILLFIC, feeling massively dumped as Buffy's best friend. Which I don't think would be true even if Faith weren't about to be dealing with a lot of issues. They've been friends for two years now, and Willow is much more together than Faith is, and they've been through so much. But she doesn't have much in common with Faith, so she can't feel like they're going to become friends --- so it's pretty normal to feel out in the cold. Poor kiddo." -- Chris

"I *loved* Giles's expressions during Buffy's tweaking of Wesley. Just too, too perfect. "And then I get a *cookie*..." < snerk! > Giles looked very unwilllingly amused, along with "now, now, don't torture him... too much."" -- Chris

"Cordelia keeps up her awesome record of below-the-belt punches while dealing with Xander now. It's *got* to stop soon, it really does. We're getting more and more info about his home life through her, all of it bad. Not fair at all."
"Definitely not. 'Specially as (a) I'm wondering if there's any *good* to find out, and (b) it shows that he trusted her with a *lot* of personal shit that otherwise only Willow knows, and she's matching betrayal for betrayal and then some, with every weapon that comes to hand. Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow. Xander's been pissing me off, but this is starting to go overboard." -- Chris and Valerie

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